By Vikas Bhonsle, CEO, Crayon Software Experts India
Metaverse is the latest buzzword in the technology industry – the acclaimed next generation of the Internet. It is a blend of all the elements of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), online games, social media, and cryptocurrencies, together, promising to provide an interconnected virtual experience that re-imagines the future of how we interact online.
Immersive technologies have made a lot of progress in the last few years. VR spaces are getting richer in features, and new AR and hologram technologies seamlessly blend the digital with the physical world. An increasing number of organizations are adopting these technologies, and they will continue to gather more traction across industry verticals and around the world.
Not Very New Technologies
Metaverse stands for a virtual world amplified by emerging immersive technologies such as extended reality (a combination of VR, AR, and MR), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), cryptocurrencies, AI, IoT, and more. However, it is not something new per se. The immersive technologies were already present, and their application was restricted to internet-based video games and social media to improve the quality and immersion in virtual reality environments. The past two years witnessed a tremendous shift in the work culture, with the remote and hybrid workspaces becoming the new normal. We will see the application of Metaverse technologies in improving work productivity, creating interactive learning environments, and facilitating virtual reality home tours. Many companies are already coming up with best-in-class Proofs-of-Concept and ace development skills.
Metaverse and the Future of Work
When the COVID-19 pandemic swept industries and stomped economies, the internet and the other work-from-home technologies helped us stay resilient and ensured business continuity. Many industries became technology-intensive, such as education, retail, conferencing, & event management, etc. The most visible and profound change that the world witnessed was how people communicated, while social distancing was in place. All forms of physical meets, conferences and events came to a halt, with most people moving to online video conferencing platforms.
Again, keeping the workforce engaged on online video conferencing platforms for a long time was one of the growing challenges in the remote and hybrid setup of work. In the case of a large numbered team, keeping everyone engrossed and engaged over tiny screens on virtual calls becomes a straining job. Then again, not everyone prefers coming on camera.
It is difficult to understand the involvement of every participant in virtual calls. Also, almost every person who has used virtual tools during this phase will admit that their online meeting timings have overlapped on some days, or there was not enough time to complete the conversation. People also complained about screen fatigue and other issues due to long and extended hours spent online. These are some reasons why companies are showing enthusiasm toward metaverse-based solutions. But the question is, how is it different in the metaverse?
Work in Immersive Environments
The metaverse promises to bring new levels of social connection, mobility, and collaboration to a world of virtual work. Metaverse will further transform these sectors by implementing VR based wearables that allow users to experience and purchase the services with the help of immersive visualization (without leaving the premise of their homes). Also, computer-generated holography technology is making great strides and will soon replace the need for VR headsets, either by using virtual viewing windows that create holographic displays from computer images or by deploying specially designed holographic pods to project people and images into actual space at events or meetings. Meta, which has been in the news for its complete metaverse-centric business goals, is developing haptic (touch) gloves that enable users to interact with 3-D virtual objects and experience sensations such as movement, texture, and pressure.
From team collaboration to learning and development to company culture, technology is taking away certain traditional aspects of the workplace, which has led to the emergence of new working patterns.